A few days ago Huawei presented their human edited artificially intelligence supported collection. Since then I have run into many conversations and debates on the topic, although after I intervened in one dominated by professionals and experts of that sector, I realized my view was considered too cynical, or that of a technology enthusiast and I stopped engaging further in other conversations. I haven’t had much luck in terms of variety, possibly, but the tone of the discussions I got to be involved in were permeated by fear. Ancient, atavic fear. Fear of losing jobs, fear of the machine in terms similar to those of the XIX century Luddist protesters, fear of being forced to learn and use tools and to acquire knowledge people did not want to or did not feel comfortable with…The background tone of this was that creativity and the unique genius behind it were going to disappear and be forgotten.
This brought me to a couple of considerations on things I tend to ignore
- The artistic field might have rephrased the obsolete notion of genius in the “arts” and its position in many areas (hi Benjamin, hi Bourdieu, hi any artist with her team, popping to my mind quickly are Tomás Saraceno or Olafur Eliasson because of their job-ads I often saw while living in Berlin and the people I knew raising spiders for Saraceno). This change though has not yet involved the mainstream notion of the expensive luxury world of fashion industry, (an oxymoron in itself, if the genius was connected to a unique sense of taste without even a social genesis), and this in spite of the fact that fashion houses have huge teams of designers designing, doing trend research etc. It is widely accepted for figurative artists to work with teams nowadays, having a skilled équipe of scientists, artisans, technicians producing part of the final product (something implemented in painting ever since anyway? considering late middle age as a good start, or sculpture in ancient European times), yet the idea of the genius dramatically persists in a way I would have no longer thought possible. Huawei did not do anything special but use a lovely and big database to produce an output. If you had the chance of working with technology this is the basis of everything. Like really. And there is nothing bad, except again in my view maybe the changes to the work flow of people.
- The claim that this is an INSULT to creativity and the premises of the death of “CREATIVITY” sound a bit ridiculous and pompous to me because in my, maybe radical view (?), creativity is long dead, intended in this very outdated romantic acception of a solitary work performed by exceptional minds. Having worked for years in translation and content creation without being a translator I have never been scared of the application of AI and MT to this field. It is my daily life and it is not a scandal anymore: I believe instead, it will give translators (or editors already?) even more authority than before in terms of adding a special touch to their content: that one will be the real localisation. I have checked the English version of the blog of two persons I really like and whose work I follow (www.lernen-wie-maschinen.ai/) and realized that their translations contain mistakes, since they are done with an MT that does not get -still- anacoluthon, subjects omissions and this sort of rhetoric expedients. I loved this. Why should it be an insult for fashion? How can this be seen as an insult instead of the complete opposite?
- The value of authenticity: Again, the opposition between the genius and the standard relies on the assumpted value of authenticity which cannot be attributed to an artificially (even though “edited” by human) product. My personal leit-motiv apparently, authenticity, identity, invention, tradition, emotions, memory. A personal greeting to Halbwachs, Benjamin, Laurajane Smith and everyone involved in this conversation 🙂 that I am not able to leave, apparently.
(In case, here Another reading on the topic from the Guardian)
Above: carnations filtering Southern light against the wall.